Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halifax street style: Cambridge Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 3:40 PM


 Josefa (left) and Paulette (right) Cameron
Age: 25 and 28
Spotted: Cambridge Street
Wearing: Josefa: blouse, Value Village; jeans, American Apparel; shoes, Value Village. Paulette: trench, Burberry; jeans, Value Village; boots and purse, Zara; turtleneck, American Apparel

How would you describe your style?
J: “It is mutable. It depends on the weather, what my plans are for the day, and what mood I am in.”

P: "I say my style is quite fluid. It ebbs and flows according to what I am feeling, what closet items I have available, and what the weather conditions are. Right now, I have been veering towards simple black turtlenecks belted with a good pair of jeans. I have a few reiterations of that."

Where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?
J: “Mid to late ’80s Jennifer Connelly, ’60s and ’70s Michelle Phillips and my mother. She is nifty at combining a ’60s darling, ’70s cool, ’80s empowerment and ’90s class – that only someone who lived through these decades could.”

P: “I follow a few Scandinavian Instagram accounts, and I always enjoy Celine’s collection as well as Mansur Gavriel's. But I think overall, I like to envision an older lady in her Sunday best, and replicate that. I imagine one lady in a cream cashmere sweater saying over her shoulder to her friend, 'Oh, don’t you look smart!' I try to recreate what that might be. I alternate between that and the casual, maybe Chantal Goya in Masculin Féminin, Jane Birkin—but everyone says that—and lately a '70s Lauren Hutton.”

How does living in Halifax affect your fashion choices?
J: “I have definitely started wearing more practical, outdoorsy outfits on the chance that my day might bring me on a hike, a long walk at Point Pleasant Park, or a bike trip.
 Halifax has a way of drawing me to nature at least once a day."

P: “The weather has probably impacted it the most. Lots of wool. More scarves, more layers, also waterproofing my life.”

Local shopping hotspot?
J: “Since moving here, I basically have only shopped at Value Village and Frenchy’s for clothing, they are meccas for unparalleled gems.”

P: “I am constantly seeking the perfect vintage high-waisted jeans, and have a small collection going, so I peruse places like Sally Ann’s and Value Village often. Also Lost and Found is great and features some great local designers.”

  • Pin It

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lion & Bright asks customers to close laptops in the evenings

“It’s not the place of sanctuary and leisure that we really want it to be.”

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 1:05 PM

  • via Facebook

Social media is buzzing since Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar announced its policy to be screen-free every evening. Signs on the cafe tables read: “Close your screens, meet your neighbours! Lion & Bright is now screen free after 5pm daily.”

Owner Sean Gallagher says the concept isn’t new—Lion & Bright has always aimed to shift from a workspace to a “social hub” in the evening—but in the past it hasn’t been clear or consistently enforced.

“If there’s somebody, say, walking by in the evening, they look in and they see a bunch of people working on their laptops, it conjures up this notion of stress in people’s lives,” says Gallagher. “It’s not the place of sanctuary and leisure that we really want it to be.”

Then there’s the issue of people “camping out” at tables with their laptops for an extended period of time, which also affects business.

Gallagher emphasizes evening bar-goers can still use their smartphones or come in by themselves to read a book. Working on your laptop is what’s (literally) off the table. He also points out that 7:30am until 5pm is “a decent stretch of time where we are generous with souped-up WiFi and cable service” for customers.

“We can see that we have a problem with campers, so we need to basically put our foot down and say, ‘Listen, this is our space. You wouldn’t do this in a regular restaurant.’ We’re a restaurant,” explains Gallagher. “So it’s just hard for people, I think, to understand that there’s a switch that happens.”

Although there’s been negative feedback, Gallagher says there’s been support as well—particularly from other local business owners. For now, the business is sticking with the policy.

“We’re listening, but we’re just kind of letting it ride out. We want to see what else comes out of it.”

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lola & Odin's Aussie vibes

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 6:23 PM

  • via @lolaodint

When Savannah Shippien graduated high school, she wasn’t quite ready to dive into more studies. An adventurer at heart, she hit the road instead, and wound up spending two years living in Australia working as a nanny and later, managing a clothing boutique. After returning to Halifax, studying neuroscience and starting a family, she thought med school was in the cards. “But the deeper I got into school the harder it was to see my kids,” says Shippien, whose husband works in Alberta.

With her blissful days down under in the back of her mind, she decided to open Lola & Odin, a women’s clothing store that allowed her to pursue her passion for fashion, and spend time with her kiddies (you guessed it, Lola and Odin). Open since August at 5881 Almon Street (the former home of Abode), the shop stocks all of Shippien’s favourite Australian (and vegan) designs, bringing a “laid back, bohemian vibe” to the racks. “I didn’t want to leave Australia, a part of my heart will always be there. It was such an experience that changed me, I grew up a lot from it. And my style evolved from that after living there,” she says of Lola & Odin’s inspiration. “Opening a boutique didn’t seem like a thing people did—it seemed like a dream job.” In celebration of launching her website this Friday, Shippien will be offering shoppers 20 percent off.

  • Pin It

SHOP THIS: Two Rude Co.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 7:36 AM

Get the Frig shirt ($20) at tworude.com
  • Get the Frig shirt ($20) at tworude.com
“We’re not really that rude at all,” says Millie Jacobs, laughing. She and her partner Linn Freyer are the makers behind Two Rude Co., a little business that basically had no choice but to exist. Equipped with some screen printing gear and an affinity for the most polite swear of all time, Jacobs (who also dabbles in leather goods) and Freyer made a saucy shirt that sealed their fate.

“I really wanted to do this Frig t-shirt because I thought it would be really funny. I didn’t really think much of it because mostly I just love doing crafts,” says Jacobs, “and then they sold like crazy so we had to keep printing.” Now, Two Rude’s grown to include a handful of shirt and hat designs—mostly based off doodles and tattoos the pair have—and sell them at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) and from their online shop.

“We just like to be provocative,” says Jacobs. “We like to keep it a little subtle, kind of telling people to frig off without being too rude about it. You know, keeping it pretty Maritime.”

  • Pin It

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Elevate Your Quality of Life and Go Float Yourself

How Lindsay MacPhee went from working 9-to-5 to starting her own business.

click image cuvlogo.png

Lindsay MacPhee enters the dark, sensory deprivation tank to get cozy with her intuition. She experiences discomfort, sits with her thoughts, and starts to make sense of what she’s feeling and why. Floating is a way to enhance her meditation practice, to be able to feel her body, get a sense for her physical awareness and listen. 

You would think that it would be easy to make time for floating when it’s your job, but Lindsay is only human. As the owner and founder of The Floatation Centre, she finds herself getting stressed out with the business and lives with the constant to-do list running through her head — as a typical entrepreneur does. But since May, Lindsay has made it a personal goal and priority to float at least once a week.

CUA member Lindsay MacPhee, owner of The Floatation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • CUA member Lindsay MacPhee, owner of The Floatation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia

“I’m actually showing up, even if I don’t want to be there, because floating isn’t a task. You don’t have to do it, you want to do it to be your best self,” says Lindsay. This is Lindsay’s goal and the centre’s purpose: “To provide a springboard for happiness and elevated levels of consciousness.” Lindsay aims for everyone around her to feel calm, loved, and to enter her judgement-free centre with ease.

But The Floatation Centre wasn’t her original “plan,” nor did Lindsay come from a business background. It was going to take work.

“When I wanted to open the business, the ‘big bank’ wouldn’t even look at me. I had too many student loans for the amount that I needed to startup to be available to me.” Lindsay says that from there it was an easy decision. “I remembered having such good memories of Credit Union Atlantic. When I was a kid I had one of those booklets from their children's banking program that you got stamped each time you put money into your savings account” CUA is a member-owned business that is committed to helping local entrepreneurs in strengthening their financial health and keeping the power in the people.

CUA believed in Lindsay, and understood that she found happiness in helping her local community just as they do. With their help, Lindsay left her nine-to-five environmental engineer job to elevate her own quality of life, and enable those around her to do the same.

Lindsay’s first CUA accounts manager was with her every step of the way, and made the whole transition and process seem effortless. “He had experience with the C.E.E.D (Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development) program and did all of the paperwork for me,” she says. Now, almost three years later, her current accounts manager frequently checks in with her, and continues to nominate The Floatation Centre for local awards.   

“He and his wife even came into float before their wedding just to relax and unwind, and they are still active floaters. It feels like I’m working with friends and less like a transaction,” Lindsay says about her ongoing relationship with CUA.

With their help, Lindsay was able to expand just after her first year of business, and continues to expand with her recent addition to the company with her “Compassion Float Program.” This program pays it forward, and provides the chance to nominate someone for a month of free floats, and for them to continue to receive 50% off for the rest of their lives. Lindsay understands that so many people could benefit from the floatation tanks but may be financially limited. This is the kind of freedom that Lindsay maintains with her business: in being able to run it in her own way, and by following her own roadmap.

“I’m so proud of the kinds of people that we’ve attracted, and we have 19 people currently working directly with us. I really want to celebrate that connection.” Lindsay’s heart-led mission stretches out to her team, who she’s able to empower and celebrate. Lindsay says it feels good to be able to do this kind of work with people that she trusts, where she’s finally able to take some time for herself, breathe, and maybe even float.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

  • Pin It

Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing makes a statement

Jass Singh wants his clothing line to make a difference.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 1:30 AM


If you are looking for a handmade dress with bright embroidered patterns weaved into the softest of silk, Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing should be on the top of your shopping list. From heavy wedding lehengas (a long skirt worn by women in South Asia) to trendy daily wear, Gandhi provides its customers with the most authentic Indian clothes straight from New Delhi, the very heart of the country’s clothing market.

Owner Jass Singh is a recent graduate from Dalhousie University. And Gandhi is not the only business he owns.

Three years ago, Singh landed in Halifax in a cold winter night from India. Stuck in the snowstorm at the airport, he had no one to turn to. One year later—knowing first-hand the hardship to start a life in a foreign country—started a non-for-profit organization designated to help international students to find accommodations prior to their arrival. Now, Univfax has helped over a thousand students settle down in Halifax.

After graduating from Dalhousie University in 2016 with a master’s degree in engineering, Singh got a job as a quality analyst in central Halifax. His dad told him that now that he had a job, it was time to settle down.

“What do you want?” his father asked. “I want to see Indian clothing stores take off in downtown Toronto in five years,” he replied.
With that ambition in mind, Singh started Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing, an online Indian clothing store selling clothing not only to Indian people but to people from all over the world. The clothes are made by workers from different parts of India and shipped straight from the capital, New Delhi.

But Singh didn’t start the store just for the money. He chose to start a clothing store hoping that it could help shatter the stereotype of race and clothing.

“If I just wanted to start a business—I could’ve just sold socks,” he says. “Some people asked me whether I sold Canadian clothes too or what the business was about. I told them Indian clothes are not just for Indian people—they’re for Canadians, they’re for Chinese, they’re for everyone.”

Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing has appeared in several recent festivals in Halifax. Find the online store here.

  • Pin It

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guided Tour Quinpool Road

Today’s Quinpool has changed from travel artery to thriving high street of the west end. Drop by the QuinFest celebration on Saturday to share the vibe of a neighbourhood on the rise.

Quinpool rewards visitors with great restaurants, interesting shops and hidden gems like Oddfellows Barbershop. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Quinpool rewards visitors with great restaurants, interesting shops and hidden gems like Oddfellows Barbershop.
  • submitted photo

QuinFun at the QuinFest

You can start your day off with a creamy latte, check those groceries off your to-do list, do your banking, then still have time to treat yourself to lunch. Quinpool Road has it all ready for you, and you don't have to go far—it's a straight shot! Don't forget, many businesses are pet friendly, so your four-legged friends can enjoy Quinpool too!

The business community is ever-growing, with our favourite staples expanding, plus new businesses introducing themselves to the neighbourhood. Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association ensures that each new addition always receives a warm welcome into the Quinpool Road family.

QRMDA is celebrating their members with the 10th annual QuinFest: Family Fun Day on Saturday, September 23 from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy free food samples from some restaurants, a bouncy castle and carnival games for all of you kids at heart, and stay for the live entertainment. Whatever fun you like, Quinpool Road has got you covered!
Check out the full QuinFest events lineup at quinfest.com

Little heaven on Organic Earth

Organic Earth Market is your place for fresh, in-season fruits and veggies, where the aisles are filled with healthy snacks that you can't resist, and you're guaranteed to find an open kombucha bottle in your cart by the end of your shopping trip. Organic Earth is your local grocery alternative, and it won't break the budget.

Organic Earth satisfies your pre-shopping hunger with their open smoothie bar, has your vitamins available before flu-season hits and has ready-made food for you to take home when you're in a hurry. You've asked, and this one-stop shop has listened—it's increased its hours to 8am-9pm Mon-Sat, and 10am-6pm on Sundays.

The conveniences are endless, especially with the brand-new local businesses and products added to the mix, so now you'll practically never have to leave. When Organic Earth isn't providing you with an organic alternative, they're updating their outdoor signage. Stay turned for what puns and rhymes they'll come up with next!
Organic Earth Market, 6485 Quinpool Road

Handcrafted just for you

A sparkling trio at Trinity Jewellers. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • A sparkling trio at Trinity Jewellers.
  • Submitted photo

Bring in your inherited jewellery and let them craft a custom ring that you'll be able to cherish forever. Trinity Jewellers is here to re-purpose your family heirloom, and make sure that you never lose a piece of history. Trinity knows that classic jewellery never needs to go out of style.

Trinity Jewellers supports and carries Canadian-made and designed jewellery brands like BIKO, Sara Kelly, Plum & Posey, AM Chagnon, JewelleryByDuc and Foxy Original. Or stay hip with the trend, and pick up another Alex & Ani charm for your collection.

Trinity keeps busy during wedding and engagement season, but this local business will make sure that your ring is one-of-a-kind, just like you, and you'll always feel like a priority when you walk through their doors. This is why they are still the top place to go for any jewellery repair in the HRM.
Trinity Jewellers, 6226 Quinpool Road

I heart Heartwood

The smell of freshly cooked vegetables fills the air the moment you walk in, and you know that you're in for a treat. Heartwood restaurant appeals to the super-green active vegetarian, the cheese lovers and all the way to you meatless-Monday folk. You'll wonder how health could taste this good?

Close your eyes and check out the chef's surprise when you pick the "wild card pizza." This dish is perfect for all of you brave foodies who are willing to try anything. You may end up with a bean burger, tofu, spinach and artichoke mix on top of the kamut crust and homemade caesar dressing. Is your mouth watering yet?

Heartwood is the perfect spot to sit with a smoothie by the window, or to pair your first date with a bottle of local wine. Their combination of fun-loving staff and cozy lighting makes for the perfect ambiance, no matter the occasion.
Heartwood, 6250 Quinpool Road

Permanent impress

Are you itching to get a new tattoo? Have you had one on your mind and just haven't found the right artist for you? Adept Tattoos & Body Piercing Studio has a wide variety of resident tattoo artists who are happy to brainstorm one-on-one with you to suit the style that you're looking for. Or if you're feeling brave, you can go on and try one of their featured guest artists from out of town.

Adept's artists specialize in custom artwork, and know how important it is to get the perfect design ready to permanently ink. If tattoos aren't your thing, pop in for a piercing. The Quinpool location welcomes walk-ins everyday so you can afford to be spontaneous. The studio has been open since 2006 and continues to provide the HRM with state of the art equipment and ink, and large selection of jewellery.
Adept Tattoos & Body Piercing Studio, 6265 Quinpool Road

Social dining in the Six

They are new to the Quinpool area but this neighbourhood restaurant fits right in. Six303 Eatery's ambiance is chic and urban, and if you peek over to the green wall, you may notice some familiar Halifax street names to make you feel connected to your city, and with them.

Six303 is your new brunch spot, or your chance to test your painting skills on PaintNite Tuesdays. This eatery pulls out all the stops to make sure they're sending you home with your belly full of some of the city's best calamari, or their signature Six303 burger, and you can go ahead and book your reservation online. You'll never want to cook for yourself again.

Join them for Wine Tasting Wednesdays and live music with Jon Cyr on Thursdays, and football fans better keep an eye out for their Patriots-themed menu. So what are you waiting for? Six303 is waiting to get social with you.
Six303 Eatery, 6303 Quinpool Road

Top class in glasses

Tired of seeing double? Imagine walking out your door with a unique style that's all your own. That's what you'll get with Gaudet Optical. Gaudet attracts the curious with their distinguished eyewear, and Gaudet's unique clients wear their glasses with confidence. Swap out those gold earrings—glasses are the new statement accessory.

They have a wide selection from over a thousand frames in store, and no frame is the same, because everyone at Gaudet Optical feels that each frame is made for one face. Be curious and try on a pair that you wouldn't normally; the staff is experienced, friendly and they're all rocking many of their own styles of frames and are eager to help you find yours.

Glasses make a person stand out, and are a representation of who that person is. Are you soft...bold...colourful? However you need to express yourself, Gaudet has a frame.
Gaudet Optical, 6465 Quinpool Road

A slice of The Big Apple

We call them "Little New York" because it's the restaurant that never sleeps. Walk by at 1pm or 4am and you'll see the lights on, the hard-working staff making customers laugh, the smell of sweet cheesy goodness in the air. Freeman's Little New York has been satisfying our midnight cravings since 1956, and boy do they have us hooked.

At Freeman's you can pick it all, and at any hour. With them being open 24 hours, you can meet your friends at this popular community breakfast spot, or grab lunch on the go. Just can't get through the week without your dose of Freeman's signature nachos and pizza? Don't worry; they'll still be there. Can't go to them? Well, it's a good thing Freeman's delivers until 5am so that you never have to go without. The Freeman's vibe will transport you right into the heart of New York, and have you eating like a New Yorker too.
Freeman's Little New York, 6092 Quinpool Road

Total passion for local culture

"Flowers For Maud" at Secord Gallery. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • "Flowers For Maud" at Secord Gallery.
  • Submitted photo

Secord Gallery is one of the longest-established galleries and independent custom framing shops in the region. Part of the Quinpool family since 1979, the gallery is a source for both contemporary fine art and expert custom framing. 

Secord is passionate about the importance of art and the contemporary Nova Scotian artists who create it. The gallery represents both well-known and emerging artists, including realist painters Alan Bateman, Paul Hannon and Steven Rhude, and ceramic artists like Alexandra McCurdy and Sally Ravindra. Secord also features sculptors, landscape and figure painters, printmakers, and interpretive and abstract painters who are showcased in Secord's series of exhibitions every year. 

Secord wants to celebrate the remarkable talent found in Nova Scotia with you, and is always eager to discuss the artists, and to assist in your art purchases, including alternative payment methods such as leasing to buy. The gallery also provides experienced and creative framing consultation, an amazing selection of mouldings and careful, expert workmanship.
Secord Gallery, 6301 Quinpool Road

Welcome home to the Athens

Ever wish you were born into a Greek family, if only just for the food? Congratulations, we've found your perfect home! When you come through the doors at Athens Restaurant, the Panopalis family will adopt you for a meal or two. (Don't worry, they won't tell your "real" family.)

Athens is meant for the whole gang. They have something for the vegetarian in your family, or even a separate kid's menu for your picky eater. It's so easy to find something for everyone, and did we mention that everything is made from scratch? Their ingredients are locally sourced when possible, but can we really blame them for using authentic Greek spices?

Their menu has some overwhelmingly delicious options, but it's easy to pick when Athens offers sampler plates, serves breakfast daily and has endless options stretching beyond Greek food. Come hungry, and get your fix right on Quinpool Road.
Athens Restaurant, 6273 Quinpool Road

Find your swole mate

Everything should feel right, from the cushion to the handlebars, to the feeling that you get when you first see it. Take your time, look around and test-ride every bike in the shop if you'd like. Building a bike and finding its perfect match is what Long Alley Bicycles specializes in.

Even if you're in a committed relationship, you can bring your old flame in and the guys at Long Alley will have it looking brand new. They are passionate about what they do, and if they can salvage any part, they will.

Long Alley takes away the stress of bike maintenance, and their services menu makes you feel like you're visiting a restaurant. You can grab a "tall cold pint" with them—a flat tire fix. Or get a "side of poutine"—a drivetrain scrub. What more could you ask for when taking care of the love of your life?

Don't miss their end of season clear-out sale: Thirty percent off bikes and 50 percent savings on select helmets.
Long Alley Bicycles, 6164 Quinpool Road, Unit A

Order up!

Whether you're a Halifax local, or you've visited a time or two, you can't say you know the city until you've had a classic Ardmore Tea Room experience. Ardmore is where you go when you want an authentic diner atmosphere that takes you back into the '50s, right down to the portion sizes.

Ardmore invites you into its booths to indulge in that classic Canadian breakfast that your stomach has been aching for, and you can have it anytime with their all-day breakfast option. (Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?)

Top your visit off with some blueberry pancakes or out-of-this-world milkshake, and if you feel like you're stumbling out, you did Ardmore right.

Ardmore is simple because it can be, and you'll be thinking about your breakfast here all the way home. Ardmore is the Halifax experience. You'll be sad to leave, but Ardmore will always be waiting for you when you return.
Ardmore Tea Room, 6499 Quinpool Road

An oasis of Oddfellows

Just finding Oddfellows is part of the fun. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Just finding Oddfellows is part of the fun.
  • Submitted photo

You wouldn't know it to see it. First you've got to make your way through the board boutique that is Pro Skates, then hop through some obstacles and voila! Once you find Oddfellows Barbershop, you'll be glad you went hunting.

This quirky living room-style barbershop likes the idea of being tucked away; it's part of their charm. When you happen upon them it's like a fun game, and if you make it through, you're in the club for life. Oddfellows intrigues you with its super-secret location, and totally delivers with that extra care to make sure your trim is just right.

This relaxing environment also offers you the full therapeutic shaving experience, with straight razor shaves, beard trims and men's grooming products. You'll walk in as a stranger, but leave feeling like a friend.
Oddfellows Barbershop, 6451 Quinpool Road

Hole wheat

You'll hear Gerry singing an ode to his unforgettable bagels, and as you start getting closer, you'll spot his spinning sign and infamous bagel song and dance. Once you've made it this far, there's no way you haven't smelled the intoxicating rising sourdough. If you are still resisting going inside East Coast Bakery on Quinpool Road, you've been eating the wrong bagels, friend.

This bakery has created a special hybrid bagel for all us east coasters by breeding local wild yeast with a flour-and-water mix, and thus their sourdough was born!

The bagels are baked in store every day, and to make your dozen you can mix and match between the onion-all-in, sesame, pretzel and more. You can also dress your bagel up by grabbing a bagel-wich at any of the 11 local restaurants that serve East Coast Bagels. Carb lovers have a special thing coming for them.
East Coast Bakery, 6257 Quinpool Road

A magic patty ride

Put your phone away, close your eyes and let your senses awaken to the ultimate burger experience. Relish Gourmet Burgers uses traditional French culinary techniques, all while using locally conscious ingredients, to bring you the best gourmet burger in town. Your taste buds will be thanking you.

From vegan to beef options, Relish likes to spice up the patty so that you'll never get bored. You won't be able to keep up with their ongoing burger specials like the famous Donair sliders, Chips n Dip burger, or the Big Wack. These guys are Burger Week champions for a reason.

Everything at Relish is made right there; try the kale Caesar salad's house made dressing with veggies from Common Roots Urban Farm just across the road. This way, you can finish your burger, and then walk over and see where the kale was grown! Just bite the burger already, and get ready to say hello to your new favourite burger joint.
Relish Gourmet Burgers, 6024 Quinpool Road

  • Pin It

RIO's going Rogue

A sister studio concept, and more more more classes

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 2:50 PM


“I’ve just been using the words more, more, more a lot,” says Connie McInnes, owner north end Halifax fitness studio RIO
(5781 Charles Street). Today, she announced big growth for the two-and-a-half year old business: In early October it’ll be opening a sister location, Rogue (6331 Lady Hammond Road), meaning the space for its diverse list of class offerings is doubling.

“When I first opened it was my big dream...I wanted to open the first pilates, yoga, multi-dimensional studio in Halifax. The more variety we started to offer, the more variety people wanted to indulge in,” she says. “We wanted to offer every component of a fitness regime under one roof—now our roof is just too small.”

The opening of Rogue doesn’t just mean a bigger roof, it makes room for a re-imagining of RIO, too. Rogue will become the industrial-vibe home of what McInnes calls RIO’s harder side—the strength, circuit training and warrior classes, plus new stuff like kickboxing and some open gym time—while the Charles Street studio will zero in on the softer stuff like yoga, barre and pilates.

“We’re making some major changes to our current space—aesthetically, the lay out of studio, energy and atmosphere—making it a bit more of a feminine space,” says McInnes. “We’re becoming a chill out zone and yoga studio and promoting our yoga classes as mini one-hour retreats.”

While both studios will offer very different classes to cater to the entire spectrum of fitness needs, a membership will get you access to both locations and fitness experiences. RIO roll its new schedule this week and Rogue is set to open after Thanksgiving.

  • Pin It

Monday, September 18, 2017

Q&A with Fog Off Clothing's Tim Hennebury

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 11:28 AM


Tim Hennebury
launched his Fog Off Clothing Co. brand three years ago with the aim of getting people talking about mental health, but he’s had a banner summer. Now, he’s embracing the advocate role, travelling around with his t-shirts, sweaters and hats, selling at events and in Pseudio stores across the Atlantic Provinces and donating 10 percent of sales to the Canadian Mental Health Association and local initiatives.

Why did you think it was important to take the brand on the road?
I think in general it creates an environment for people to talk freely about their mental health. I’m just getting home from the Wharf Rat Rally. We had so many people coming to the mobile store to talk about mental health.

What’s the story behind the name?
I grew up with fishermen, and you can be out hauling your traps or hauling your nets or your gear and you look up and you’re in a bank of fog and your compass and radar are out of whack. Then you have to pick up the phone and you call your fishing buddies to get you out of the fog. That’s where I came up with Fog Off, that whole concept of being out there in your boat. We all deal with some kind of mental health issue—whether it’s your brother, your sister, yourself, your work, a boss, we can all end up in that kind of fog.

What led you to share this message via clothing?
I thought it was great vessel to spread the message and let people know you’re not alone, you’re normal. Whether you’re in a fog or not—you’re human and we all deal with this shit, on an every day level.

  • Pin It

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Third Earth Collectibles geeks out

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 5:33 PM

  • via Facebook

Dave Mullins
wasn’t about to let the film tax credit take him away from Halifax. After a decade of working as an editor, he—like many others—had to rethink his path after a layoff, and it turned out geek gear was the answer.

“I’ve had colleagues move away to Toronto and Alberta, and we thought about it,” he says. “We wanted to stay in Nova Scotia, we didn’t like the idea of leaving, it’s our home. We thought, ‘what can we do as a family that combined our expertise and passion?’ We are collectors, we have a knowledge of these things, it’s a culture we love.”

That’s when Mullins and his wife Glenna teamed up to bring Third Earth Collectibles to the north end, 5576 Cornwallis to be exact (it shares a space with Octopi Computers). “We wanted to be a little more niche, so we didn’t want to go too far down the comic road, we wanted to cater to the same demographic, but include not just geek comic culture, but pop culture too,” says Mullins. Currently the shop is stocking things like action figures, buy-and-sell toys, accessories and apparel that aren’t just all about your regular superheroes, but your favourite TV shows and movies, too, taking inspiration from American chain, ThinkGeek.

“It’s a business, but it’s also fun. We’re passionate about it, we care deeply about it,” says Mullins. “Eight-hundred pieces showed up at the store and I said to my wife, it feels like Christmas day. I get to open up all these boxes and look at the toys, I just don’t get to keep them.”
  • Pin It

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The end of The Oxford

After 80 years at the movies, we say goodbye to a piece of Halifax history.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:43 AM


It’s about the building, but it isn’t.

For some, going to the movies is just going to the movies. Those people are fine driving out to Bayers Lake or Dartmouth Crossing and stepping into a photocopied multiplex—if you entered a Cineplex-branded building in Edmonton or Barrie, you’d know exactly what to do—and enduring the flashing lights of the arcade, the lobby you could drive a tank through with no damage, the wide array of hot snacks served by frazzled teens. These same people think arena shows are the best way to see a band. It’s not an experience, it’s just a thing to do.

For others, to go to the movies is to engage with art. It’s an event. It can be the cultural highlight of a year.

For 80 years, that is what The Oxford gave to Halifax. As a building, bricks and mortar, it’s lacking in that way repertory cinemas have always been lacking: There’s the tiny lobby and the inefficient, downright befuddling bathrooms—in the women’s there is a full-on powder room next to three stalls circling a single tiny sink (why would the toilet be raised, anyway?). A few years ago, cosmetic renovations resulted in an uglier sign, less character and neither—never, as it turned out—air conditioning nor self-serve ticketing. Before the theatre went digital, the projector was so dirty that every movie looked like it was from the 70s, covered in bits of dust and detritus.

None of that mattered, because you loved it anyway. A movie house born in 1937 versus one printed out from a template in 2017—these two places don’t feel like they’re even on the same earth. The Oxford has high ceilings, wide aisles, ample space between rows, deep seats arranged in gently curving rows to provide good sightlines. Its biggest old-world flair is the balcony, high up and far back, with a narrow staircase. There’s still a moment where the curtains pull fully back.

In retrospect, we should’ve seen this coming. The Atlantic International Film Festival, in a year full of confusing moves, announced this summer that it would be taking place solely in Park Lane, eight screens handily located in the downtown core. (Since we’re here—our fingers have long been crossed for Park Lane.) But the Oxford premieres were the best part of the festival. No local filmmaker will ever again get to stand on a red carpet outside a single-screen movie house, with a line stretching down Oxford Street, in tandem with the trees, comprised of hundreds of people excited to see their art. No filmgoer will ever again get to witness something like Michael Moore introducing Bowling for
, a documentary that would go on to win an Academy Award for its Halifax-based producers.

Of course, film exhibition is not about art, it’s about business. Empire made half-hearted attempts to run the Oxford as a rep, but it’s too big, over 300 seats. (That’s why the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel could—needed to?—have an 11-week run.) Cineplex, since its acquisition of all Empire Theatres in 2013, has neither known nor cared what to do with it (although it kept running monthly classics until opening a dedicated Event screen in Park Lane two years back).
That The Oxford has fallen to development is what hurts the most. Stores and restaurants close all the time, sometimes because of condos and sometimes because of failure and it’s awful but that’s life. For a corporation to just sell off a piece of Halifax history, one that means so much to so many, that offers daily experiential art to citizens who will cheerfully, actively work for it—for a corporation to do something so fucking corporate—is not surprising. But that doesn’t make it any less devastating.

So it’s about the building, for a few. For the rest of us, it isn’t. It never was.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Little Shop pops up this Saturday in Dartmouth

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 2:38 PM

Support is contagious, or at least it ought to be, says Robin Lalonde. Overwhelmed by the help she received in her first few months as a new mom, Lalonde is paying the good, neighbourhood vibes forward with Little Shop, a yard sale/pop-up shop hybrid making its debut this weekend at 22 John Street in Dartmouth.

“I really wanted to take that energy and put it into something,” she says of the idea, which was inspired by her doula—Stevie Fort of The Bounty pop-up shops. “ I have all these friends who are super creative, and I wanted to do something to bring them together and give them a platform to encourage them to be creative. I expected it to be me and my friends hanging out in my backyard, but it’s not gonna be that anymore.”

From 9am to 6pm on Saturday, Little Shop will bring pour-over coffees and baked goods, housewares, small furniture, clothing, cocktails, preserves and art outside.

“It’s mostly just women supporting each other and being creative, and a lot of people who are just starting out," she says of this event, which she hopes will be the first of many.

Pin Action, Common Confections, The Bounty, Doap Soap and Willow Stitches will be among the vendors selling their goods and there’ll also be a play area for the kiddos.

  • Pin It

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Oxford theatre will soon close

The single-screen theatre is offering final week of special screenings before it is turned over to Nanco Group.

Posted By and on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 10:28 AM

  • The Oxford circa 1957.
  • courtesy Nova Scotia Archives

A staple for film-lovers across Halifax is set to close its doors on September 13. Cineplex Cinemas Oxford—simply known as The Oxford—has been sold to Nanco Group (a local business owned by the Nahas family).

Nanco Group’s Norman Nahas has history on the block, too. His family’s other business, King of Donair has been a next-door neighbour to the theatre since 1973.

“I’d love to find another tenant who’ll be there for 80 years like The Oxford was. It’s a movie theatre, but it’s so much more than that—it’s a part of the community, it’s a gathering place and an iconic corner,” he says. “We want to try to have all of that in the next chapter, whoever ends up in that spot we definitely want to respect the heritage and respect the building and the history.”

Nahas admits it’s a bit premature to speak to exactly will happen to the building going forward, and he wouldn’t confirm whether or not it will be redeveloped altogether. He did, however, say it will be a mixed-use space, likely retail and residential.

“The building has undergone three facade alterations over the years, so we kind of have to peel back the layers and see what things look like and looked like, and determine the structural integrity,” he says.

The single-screen theatre has been operating since 1937, offering limited releases and throwback movies to Haligonians in recent years. It’s a time capsule in building form, complete with stadium seating and a balcony. No doubt it’s going to be a difficult farewell for many locals.

“Whatever the final project will look like we want to maintain as much history as we can, we’d even consider naming whatever it will be The Oxford,” adds Nahas. “I went to school around the corner at Tupper and lived around the corner, and my grandmother told me stories about going to that theatre. It’s definitely an institution now.”

Don’t cry yet. The silver (screen?) lining is that The Oxford will be offering a stellar final week of films, from a Marilyn Monroe classic to a recent Wes Anderson gem. All proceeds from these screenings will go to the IWK. Check out all the dates and titles below

Friday, September 8
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Casablanca (1942)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Saturday, September 9
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Sunday, September 10
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Maudie (2016)

Monday, September 11
Rear Window (1954)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Aliens (1986)

Tuesday, September 12
City Lights (1931)
Grease (1978)
The Graduate (1967)

Wednesday, September
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Titanic (1997)

  • Pin It

Sidecar Goods revs up

A culinary sidekick to The Watch That Ends The Night

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 4:00 AM


Joe and Bethany Gurba are pretty into books. The co-owners of Dartmouth’s coming-soon The Watch That Ends The Night (15 King’s Wharf Place)—a bar and restaurant that nods to the 1958 Hugh MacLennan novel of the same name—even toyed with the idea of selling them from inside the eatery.

“It’s basically a restaurant that’s aesthetic is built on our love for Canadian literature,” says Joe. The idea has since evolved to become Sidecar Goods. An enclave sidekick shop to The Watch for people who love food and drink, Sidecar was inspired by Edmonton’s Duchess Bakeshop, and its companion fancy pantry store Duchess Provisions.

“It’ll be a hobby shop that we always wanted to go to,” says Joe. “With the best from abroad that we can’t get in Nova Scotia, or the best of Nova Scotia that will we would love to put in peoples hands.” That includes chocolate, coffee, bitters, preserves, chef knives and cookbooks. Sidecar Goods’ opening will come hand-in-hand with The Watch’s in mid-October.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Room Service brings the convenience store to your doorstep

Emergency TP can be yours in 45 minutes or less

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 4:29 PM


Time is money and Johnathan Cannon knows it.

This week he launched Room Service, an online convenience store that delivers necessities like drinks, chips, candy, toilet paper and cleaning supplies directly to peninsula dwellers' doorsteps, in 45 minutes flat. The business is a family venture—Johnathan's father Urban Cannon, his brothers Jeremy and Craig, and his partner Beth Norton are all part of the team making it happen.

"My dad is a small business owner so that’s what I grew up with," says Johnathan. "It feels like its been an organic growth. Back in university, I had the idea to buy a van and deliver liquor to peoples' houses. I never went very far with it, so that went on the back burner." Instead of booze, now he's concentrating on popular items you'd run to the corner store for. No effort hangover Gatorade? Brilliant!

Functioning entirely online, customers can select and pay for their order via Room Service's site. For now, the business caters to people living in peninsular Halifax, with the cut-off point being at Joseph Howe Drive. "We decided that we want to keep it like that at least for now, so we can do everything properly and well," says Johnathan, adding that they hope to expand that area in the future. He'll also be adding items like diapers and baby food to the shop soon.

"At the end of the day," he says, "we’re selling people their time back."

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Comments

In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 29
December 14, 2017

Cover Gallery »

Real Time Web Analytics

© 2017 Coast Publishing Ltd.